Stories that reflect the people and heritage of the Northern Great Plains

Oil sketched by artist Thomas Marple

BISMARCK, ND — While America is preparing to do more business with Saudi Arabia under the new federal administration, a “shale war” continues between the two countries. The fallout has global ramifications. The stakes are high, impacting oil and gas prices, North Dakota’s revenue and production, national security and U.S. aspirations to become a superpower in petroleum production. As award-winning author and energy writer Mark Mills masterfully details in the newest edition of 360 Review, North Dakota is the battleground for the Saudis’ preemptive strike, which began in the fall of 2014 in the form of increased Saudi oil production designed to collapse the price of oil.

Award-winning Author and writer Mark Mills

The Saudis are undertaking “one of the most expensive [$200 billion] experiments of all time,” wrote Mills of the Saudis. “What we’re witnessing is a two-part test. The first question is how much damage have low oil prices caused America’s shale industry. Then the second and far more critical part of the test: As oil prices rise, will the shale industry limp or roar back? If it roars back, high oil prices are history. Odds are now that in 2017 we will witness—along with the oil princes of Arabia—the outcome. However it goes, the economic and geopolitical implications are enormous. And the outcome has more to do with technology than with politics.” The answers to who is winning the shale war and if there will be another shale boom can be found in Mills’ article “Shale Wars: Oil Prices and Saudi Arabia’s Big Bet.”

Mills is the recipient of the prestigious 2016 Energy Writer of the Year by the American Energy Society (AES), a nonpartisan network of professionals from every energy sector. Mills cited the article he wrote in the previous issue of 360 Review—“Drone ‘Coincidenzas:’ Marilyn, Reagan & North Dakota”—as his favorite that year. A New York Times article came second.

Award-winning Author and writer Samuel Freedman

Author and former New York Times reporter and 360 Review contributor Samuel Freedman, documents the Omar family whose Muslim lineage in northern North Dakota dates back over 120 years at the site of where the oldest mosque in the U.S. was once located. Freedman’s “North Dakota Mosque, a Symbol of Muslims’ Long Ties in America” story is part of his “On Religion” columns in the New York Times, which earned him the 2017 Goldziher Prize for coverage of Muslim Americans.

Freedman also wrote an article titled, “A Jewish Journalist’s View of Catholic Service,” in this issue of 360 Review.

Eye-popping covers continue to be a hallmark of 360 Review as this third issue rendering comes from sculptor John Lopez, who has made a career out of turning the prairie landscape into a three-dimensional canvas for his colorful western-themed bronze sculptures. These “foundlings” are not rusty discards but objects with soul, made sacred by their useful and life-giving functions, wrote Karen Herzog, editor-in-chief of the University of Mary’s Momentum magazine, in 360 Review.

“I work from feeling … and have to use my mind’s eye,” said Lopez. “I think I could do it in different media but the magic is in the lining up of the stars of the scrap iron. And I’ve learned that if there is a piece that is interesting and motivates me, I’ll wait to put it on at the end, because you’ve got to get the proportion right. If you don’t have that right, I’m just a guy welding scrap iron together. Does it really stick to your ribs? Do you remember it?”

John Lopez stands between Custer and Sitting Bull

Memorable, indeed. Lopez’s works of art are welded into cowboy, buffalo, bear, horse (including the Colt of Many Colors pictured on the cover). Most striking is the Custer-Sitting Bull sculpture, which has been installed in his permanent collection at the new Kokomo Gallery in Lemmon, SD.

Meanwhile, the mystery of who killed Custer appears to have been solved in “Warriors’ Last Stand: Little Bighorn Survivors & the Miller Collection” in this issue of 360 Review. As a teenager growing up in Ohio in the 1930s, artist David Humphreys Miller believed that the historical accounts of this fateful day—June 25, 1876—were biased. In 1935, Miller set out for Indian country to track down survivors of this famous battle. He met 72 warriors who fought in the battle and were still living on reservations on the Northern Great Plains. Miller conducted interviews, and made drawings and took photographs. Eventually, he published two books: one about the Custer battle and the other about the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890, both from the native perspective.

Some of the last survivors of the Battle of Little Big Horn

The Miller Collection, which includes framed drawings and paintings, research notes and interviews, and historical artifacts—including Sitting Bull’s life mask—is currently exhibited at the Wrangler Gallery in Great Falls MT.

The current issue of 360 Review also takes a profound and eclectic look at heritage and culture on the Northern Great Plains: Mandan Indian culture, American culture, politics, history, art, business, education, in such articles as:


“What are the Odds That What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas?” by Travis Wolf, PhD.


“Of Milk Cartons, Tadpoles & Stars: Parenting in the Age of Fear” by Karen Herzog.


“Pell Mell vs. Pall Mall: The Unpopular Origins of Populism,” by Jesse Russell, PhD.


“Five Generations of Leadership & Innovation: Building a Dynamic, Employee-Owned in North Dakota,” by Andrea Gleiter.


“Where the Boys Are(n’t): Alarming Trends in Male College Outcomes” by Brenda Werner, PhD.